TIDAL has become the most contested music streaming platform of the year. Between allegations of inflated subscriber numbers and misrepresentations in exclusive content, each new headline suggests that the platform’s business is floundering. However, without data on the music streaming service’s growth, attrition rates and consumer activity, we can’t be sure.

To better understand the popularity and future of the platform we analyzed daily traffic, global user subscriptions, and cancellation rates in 2016. We found that an astonishing 85 percent of global users cancel their subscriptions in the first 30 days, before the end of their free trials. Read on for our full data-driven findings.

TIDAL’s exclusive album release strategy

TIDAL has undergone a lot of criticism for its exclusive release strategy. Leaving us to wonder how music lovers react to these ‘exclusive’ releases, and how they affect consumer loyalty? We analyzed day-over-day fluctuations in traffic, subscription and cancellation rates since the beginning of 2016 to better understand how these releases impact the platform’s growth and attrition rates. Our data indicates that the impact of exclusive releases is very short lived, as both traffic and subscriptions decrease significantly within the first two days following release, and steadily decline as time goes by.

The two leading albums released on the platform this year – Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyonce’s Lemonadeattracted 65 percent of all visitors to the site’s top ten albums. Lemonade also brought in the most signups to the service, and generated more than six times the daily sign-ups on the day of release compared to the previous day. However, new subscriptions began to dwindle the following day and continued to drop. The same trend was visible for The Life of Pablo, which brought in more than four times the amount of new registrations the day of release compared to the previous day, only to substantially decrease the amount of subscriptions generated in the following days.

Day-over-day changes in subscriptions to Tidal following album releases provided by Jumpshot

It’s interesting to note that daily subscriptions decrease more than traffic rates, emphasizing that the impact of exclusive releases on the streaming platform’s growth is very limited, as visitors continue to come in but an increasingly smaller percentage of them convert into users each passing day.

Membership cancellations

To truly understand TIDAL’s popularity, it’s more important to look at membership cancellations than new subscriptions. We tracked new user registrations in 2016, and mapped out their onsite activity since signing up to determine attrition rates based on the date of subscription. This way we can clearly see the correlation between signups, membership cancellations, and album releases.

We found that 85 percent of global TIDAL users that signed up this year canceled their subscriptions within the first 30 days, before the free trial expires. Compounding this, nearly half of the cancellations happened within the first ten days of membership.

TIDAL Global Membership Cancellation
Membership duration % of cancellations
0-10 days 47.7%
11-30 days 37.6%
31+ days 14.7%

Bottom Line: The subscription-based model for streaming content can prove to be very successful in the online video industry. But the value of subscription-based music streaming is a bit more nuanced, because of the different behaviors people exhibit when streaming these two distinct types of content. Despite being the sole provider of highly-anticipated albums like Lemonade and The Life of Pablo, TIDAL seems to struggle to hold onto its subscribers beyond the free trial. While the promise of exclusivity may lure new users to the platform, it won’t keep them there.